The Honor V10 was launched on Dec 5th, 2017 and was initially targeted at the Premium market. At publishing time, the Honor V10’s price was estimated at $450 USD (estimated price by Ubergizmo, the official price will be released later by Huawei and its retails partners). Although this product was built to address the Premium market ($450 to $600), keep in mind that many products will shift segments as their price evolve over their lifespan.

Using price as main criteria, we chose an array of suitable competitors which may be alternatives to assess how the Honor V10 (aka Honor View 10) fits in its immediate smartphone landscape: OnePlus OnePlus 5 (479 USD), Essential PH-1 (499 USD), LG G6 (399 USD),

Key Specifications

  • 5.99” IPS LCD Display (2160×1080)
  • 16 Camera, f/1.8 aperture
  • Hisilicon Kirin 970 platform 6 RAM, 128 GB of Storage
  • 3750 mAh battery capacity
  • Android 8.0

Industrial Design

Comfort

This smartphone feels comfortable in hand because it has a width of 75mm for a thickness of 7mm (0.28 inches). For reference this is based on a medium size hand (US M gloves). You can try guessing what suits you best based on this. The weight of 172 grams (6.07 oz) makes it an average smartphone in this category, however, it is the thinnest one, compared to the OnePlus 5 (7.5mm), the Essential PH-1 (7.8mm) and the LG G6 (7.9mm).

Build Quality

The V10’s look and feel is similar to the Huawei P10 and P10 Plus that launched in March at MWC in Barcelona. The Chinese manufacturer used the same design language with some subtle changes here and there. The dual camera module is placed exactly at the same location as it is in the P10 series, and looks  exactly the same.

The main noticeable difference in the build quality is the material used for the back cover, the P10 featured an amazing unique texture, labeled “diamond…” by Huwaei while the Honor View 10 gets a more plain soft paint that comes in toned down color options. The unique bright blue that I loved in the P10 unit I reviewed is now replaced by a darker shade of the same color, probably to appeal to a broader range of customers.

The metal unibody body offers a great built-quality and feels premium although it does not look as high-end as a shiny metal body covered with glass, like you see in the LG G6 elegant chassis. In comparison, the Essential PH-1 body looks premium and shiny with its ceramic back cover, however it feels a little different from the LG G6 in part due to the sharper angles of the design. That said, there are many high-end metal phones, so we will leave this to your appreciation. Objectively, metal bodies are more durable, which leads to the next paragraph…

Durability

Compared to the Essential PH-1, and the LG G6 that are rated IP55 and IP 68 respectively, the Honor V10 does not offer any ruggedness, jut like the OnePlus 5T.  Water or splash resistance are features that consumers tend to require, since dropping a phone in the sink, the bathroom or the swimming pool is quite common.

Design ingenuity

Among the four most recent smartphones in the premium category that we are comparing in this review, the Honor V10 has the highest battery capacity. When we take those capacity numbers in relation to the weight and the size of each smartphone, we can conclude that the V10 delivers the highest mAh (capacity) per cubic inch: 746 mAh/CI vs. 652 mAh/CI for the OnePlus 5T, 640 mAh/CI for the LG G6 and 635 for the Essential PH-1.

The 5.99-inch V10’s display comes in second in the screen-to-body ratio comparison with 78.6%,  over 6 points behind the Essential PH-1’s 5.71-inch display, which takes the first place on the podium at 84.9%, maybe to compensate for the lower battery capacity.

The larger 5.99-inch display combined with the 3750 mAh high capacity battery explains the heavier weight of the V10, compared to the lighter LG G6 and OnePlus 5T. However, at 172 grams, the new Huawei Honor premium smartphone  is 13 gram lighter than the PH-1.

Display (Very good)

Top Samsung Galaxy S8+, bottom: Honor V10

The Honor V10 features an IPS LCD display, just like the Essential PH-1 and the LG G, and unlike the OnePlus 5T that uses the AMOLED technology that you can also find in all of the Samsung high-end smartphones.

From the brief time I was able to play with the Honor View 10, scrutinizing all the colorful images I displayed on the 2160×1080 5.99-inch screen, I can tell that the image quality is great and offers deep contrast and bright colors (see pictures in the gallery).

The OnePlus 5T may have the advantage of saving power when the display is turned black, thanks to its AMOLED technology, but the full HD resolution is lower than the V10. The LG G6 offers the highest resolution for a smaller screen size, and so delivers the highest pixel density of the four phones.

Display technology

IPS/PLS LCD technology made LCD displays so good, first on mobile, then everywhere else. IPS/PLS can reproduce more colors than normal LCD, with better color saturation and wider view angles. Within the range of IPS LCD displays there are still some differences, but in general IPS/PLS are beyond basic LCD displays.

However, LCD an IPS/PLS LCD displays as a group are not as technologically advanced as OLED panels which often have better contrast and color saturation. While it is possible to build excellent LCD displays that perform at a comparable level to some OLED, these LCD screens should be viewed as the exceptions, and they may not have any of the normal advantages associated with LCD (vs. OLED).

You can read our complete LCD vs. OLED article to learn more.

Camera (Good)

Mobile cameras have become amazingly good over time. But, it is clear that there is a significant gap between them based on cost, but also depending on technology and expertise of the OEM. It is critical to realize that mobile photography has two foundations of considerable importance: Software and Hardware.

The software is usually very secretive, and it is extremely challenging to gain good insight to gage its quality with an unbiased process. Also, photography is not just science. It is also art. The camera equipment is the other aspect which is more measurable. Camera hardware is potentially a strong limiting factor to mobile camera performance. Even if you use the smartest software on it, the quality of the input signal data still plays a major role in the final photo outcome. 

OpinonWhat’s a Great Mobile Camera Experience?

In the Honor V10, the camera aperture of f1.8 is common at this price range. At the moment, the the sensor size (in mm2) is unknown but we will find out soon.

The 16 Megapixel count should not be used as a default indicator of photo quality. In dim lighting situations, the high Megapixel count (>12) has little influence. Also, the physical size of each sensor pixel is critical. With higher megapixel counts, sensing pixels (sensels) may have to be smaller. Each obtains less light information and in low-light conditions, it is better for the overall image quality to gather more light with fewer (but bigger) sensels than the opposite. It is a balance that needs to be found. Today, 12 Megapixel seem to be the best sensor compromise between sharpness, low-light and autofocus performance.

On a sunny day or in very bright light scenes, Megapixel could be a good proxy for photographic detail and sharpness. For example, on a sunny day, a landscape photo with a higher megapixel count could lead to finer details. Between 12 MP, 16 MP and 21 MP differences in small details can be quite noticeable, if printed or viewed on a large and/or high-PPI display.

The autofocus of the Honor V10 camera is based on Phase Detection technology. Phase-detection AF that was originally built into discrete AF sensor chips in the DSLR days. Then it got integrated into the camera primary sensor. It works by having specialized AF pixels sensors that would tell if specific points in the image were in-focus.

This method is very advanced and the AF capabilities work well in most cases. AF performance is more or less proportional to the number of hardware AF sensels. Typically this number can go from dozens to hundreds of Phase-Detection AF points. Phase detection AF is an excellent system, which is only inferior to Dual-Pixel AF.

Bizarrely, the HDR functionality is still not automatic on the Honor View 10. To get the benefits of using HDR photography, you need to go into the options page and switch to “HDR” mode, which you can be certain that the vast majority of people will not do. In phones with interesting photographic capabilities, the image metering system figures out if HDR is needed, and switches it on, without user intervention. This is detrimental to image quality in high-contrast lighting situations.

Camera photo quality

Our first camera tests yielded very good photos in broad daylight, and more challenging ones in very low light situations. This is typical, and reveals a gap in camera performance between the premium phones and the high-end phones.

The Honor view 10 stands its ground in low-light, and in its category, it does very well. The camera experience is probably better than on the Essential PH-1 and comparable to the OnePlus 5. We will have to fire up the LG G6 and see which would win that battle.

The lack of Optical Image Stabilization makes it harder to capture great low-light shots, and this is something that competitors like the LG G6 do have.

Battery Life (Excellent)

The battery capacity of Honor V10 is 3750 mAh, which is above the current average for 5 to 6-inch smartphones, and the best in its own category. The PH-1 and the OnePlus 5T comes in second with 3300 mAh while the LG G6 sticks closer to the average at 3040 mAh. The V10 offers

Battery life is one of the most important features of a handset. A key indicator is obviously its battery capacity — especially within the same ecosystem (Android, iOS or other). Battery life can be affected by a bunch of factors, but the main ones are the main processor, display and wireless radios (broadband, WiFi, the cell towers location and more). It is impossible to accurately pinpoint through synthetic tests how much energy drain YOUR unique usage pattern will induce. However, two things are without a doubt always good:

  • A higher battery capacity
  • Very fast charging

It is generally impossible to predict real-life battery life by running synthetic tests. Things such as display brightness, (LTE/WiFi) radio usage and distance to access points will change too much. Also, the number of apps installed and their usage cannot be estimated. Battery capacity is the most important battery-life indicator for YOUR usage.

This product does NOT have a detachable battery, which is the norm for smartphone these days, specifically for the ultra-thin ones like the Honor V10. Closed batteries cannot be swapped or easily exchanged, but they do allow for smaller designs and slightly bigger battery size inside the same product volume.

This handset has a relatively common screen resolution. Although this may be less competitive from a display quality point of view, having less pixels to handle is a bit better for battery life.

Performance

For the sake of fair comparison it is important to note that the LG G6 features a previous generation SoC, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 820, while the Essential PH-1 and the OnePlus 5 are both equipped with the latest and most powerful Qualcomm SoC available today, the Snapdragon 835. The Honor V10  runs on a different chip, the Kirin 970. However, this is the current HiSilicon flagship SoC that features an Octa-core processor clocked at 4×2.36 Ghz + 4×1.8 Ghz, and it is comparable with the Snapdragon 835 in terms of performance.

For instance the LG G6 is significantly cheaper than the other three phones, which fairly reflects the performance gap. The synthetic benchmarks give the Snapdragon 835 a slight advantage of 10 to 15% in speed over Kirin 970.

You can look at the full scores, but in our opinion, this smartphone’s performance puts it in the high-end class of phones, which is better than the premium category’s average.

Before you look at any charts, it is critical to realize that most tests are only loose indicators, usually for system or graphics performance. It is possible to see sharp performance differences between different classes of devices (entry-level, mid-range, premium, vs. high-end), but it is less obvious to do so within devices of the same class. Benchmarks alone should NOT drive a smartphone purchase decision.

Gaming performance benchmarks apply only to heavy games using 3D graphics. Casual games such as puzzles and 2D games do not need this kind of performance and can run pretty much on any modern smartphone.

Conclusion

Overall the Honor View 10 delivers impressive performance in a beautifully designed package that is slim and elegant. What sets the V10 apart from  other smartphones in the same price range ($450 to $500) is the combination of the high screen-to-body ratio with a high capacity battery and a high-resolution large display (almost 6-inch).

"IMPRESSIVE PERFORMANCE IN A BEAUTIFULLY DESIGNED PACKAGE"

At 6-inch, the 2160×1080 resolution offers a comparable pixel density as the 5.5-inch full-HD PH-1. Since full HD is quite enough for most people, as long as the image quality is excellent, the lower count of pixels on the screen allows for better power efficiency.

Filed in Cellphones >Reviews. Read more about Honor, Huawei, Huawei Reviews and smartphone reviews.

Huawei Honor V10
Display
5.99"
2160x1080 IPS LCD
Price (approximative)
~$450 - Amazon
Camera
16 MP
F1.8 Aperture Size
Image Stabilization
Weight
172 g
Battery
3750 mAh
Launched in
2017/11/01
System
6GB RAM
Kirin 970 + MicroSD
Storage (GB)
128
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